Review ·

The current state of music is securely packed within a heavy swirl of festering shit. I'm not overreacting. It's absolutely true. With band after band completely exhausting the obvious formula of the radio-friendly-pop-punk-mega-hit, it's amazing any human with a decent sense of what good music is hasn't yet swan-dived off a high rise. But despite my obvious cynicism, I've stumbled upon a record that adopts the pop-punk genre and runs with it into a synth-pop landscape where humor, catchiness and genuine entertainment prevail.

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Draw Tippy is the brainchild of New Yorker Dave Pachence, who recorded this fourteen-song, self-titled debut independent of any label and solely in the confines of his Manhattan apartment. But unlike the typical DIY album executed with a four-track and a budget of nickels, this album is produced without any notable flaws. Pachence introduces his brand of satire (which comes coated in a gelatinous casing of wit and charm) with the space-age, synth-driven opener, "Oscillate." His nasally, monotone voice carries the lyric "He is fired up/ he's feeling rad, fresh on the scene in his trucker hat." That marks the beginning of his jaded, twenty-something social commentary, carried by rough guitar riffs and appropriately spastic electronic melodies.

Acoustic guitar piggybacks an array of electronic mixing and sound effects on "Armageddon Girl," but about a minute in, the lo-fi sound is swapped for a pulsating electronic-pop explosion. And just when you start to miss the gentle strumming, the song is cracked open, releasing a layer of female vocals that help reinforce the notion of "peacing out" with your lady. The Beach Boys-inspired "California" puts sentimental types in their watery-eyed, upbeat place. Harmonizing with himself, Pachence conjures visuals of drive-in movie theaters and wave-crashing make-out sessions. It's hard not to like.

But just when you thought Draw Tippy had unleashed all of its stylistic tricks, "Wasted It" proves you wrong. As a guitar is gently strummed, you find yourself waiting for a lyric that will complement the song's emotional entrance, but a rug is pulled from below with the line, "I guess this is where I should say something clever/ everything, nothing, anything, whatever." I felt bitch-slapped, but the wit carries on in a sincere tone throughout the song. On "Decide," Pachence follows his penchant for the 1980s-style synthesizer while issuing a great big "fuck you" to his music contemporaries: "These drums, they're fake, computer made/ It ain't no House of Pain, it ain't Big Daddy Kane."

Draw Tippy lingers somewhere between a punch line, a broken heart and a consistent 1980s dance compilation. With terrible music emanating from most radio stations today, it's good to know that a band is breaking ranks from the monotony of the imitated herd. Draw Tippy has, for the time being, scraped away the churn of stinking poop and replaced it with a delicious swirl of soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Damn, that's good shit.


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Album stream

- 2005

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